The allowed claims for U.S. Patent Application No. 12/528,690 entitled "Composition and Methods for Modulating Cell Proliferation and Cell Death," cover a core element of Rosetta Genomics' microRNA technology in the development of cancer therapeutics associated with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in p53-negative patients. The allowed patent application is jointly owned with Yeda, the technology transfer company of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
The p53 protein is a sequence-specific transcription factor that functions as a major tumor suppressor in mammals. Inactivation of the tumor-suppressor function of p53 is one of the most frequent genetic alterations in human cancer, and close to half of all human tumors carry p53 gene mutations within their cells.
The patent discloses the finding that miR-34a, which is a direct transcriptional target of p53, possesses anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities, thereby contributing to the tumor suppressor effects of activated p53. Overexpression of miR-34a exerts anti-proliferative effects and promotes cell death, whereas inactivation of miR-34a attenuates p53-mediated cell death. Thus, miR-34a is a direct transcriptional target of p53, which may mediate some of the biological effects of this tumor suppressor. Perturbation of miR-34a expression may thus contribute to tumorigenesis.
"We continue to fortify our leading intellectual property position in microRNA technology and these newly allowed patent claims expand, strengthen and complement our growing portfolio of over 35 patents worldwide," noted Kenneth A. Berlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rosetta Genomics. "This patent is important as it protects key elements of our microRNA technology to develop oncology treatments for NSCLC in p53 negative patients and offers opportunities for monetization. With RNA-based therapeutics, including microRNA-targeting agents, continuing to progress in and towards the clinic, this patent allowance should create opportunities for us to exploit this important new piece of intellectual property. It also supports our broader oncology strategy to develop and commercialize microRNA-based diagnostics, therapeutics and biomarkers that will enhance clinicians' ability to identify and treat cancers."